Cherry and Basil Cake

After my delight with our cherry crop from the garden, I spent all of around ten minutes deciding whether to just eat them or to bake them in something. It is no surprise that I chose to bake with half of them and gobble the rest up!

Fresh from the garden.

There are so many classic recipes with cherries and I must admit to having been somewhat overwhelmed by the choice. I started researching what flavours might go well with cherries as I was in an experimenting mood and read somewhat incredulously that basil and cherry go well together. This idea really tickled my fancy as I had some leftover basil from another recipe and I was happy to be able to use it for something special (read a bit different and out there!).

Atticus and Ophelia didn’t bat an eyelid when I said we were going to put the basil in the cake. That said, Ophelia isn’t really old enough to understand that it might be an unusual ingredient for a sweet treat! When I told Simon what I had used them for, there seemed to be a small sigh on the other end of the phone, the sound of resignation and of course you wouldn’t do anything normal with them, Kat!

When it was out of the oven we eagerly took it to a friend’s house for lunch. She may well have been taken aback by the contents of the baked goods, but when we tried it for pudding we were both pleasantly surprised. Simon also agreed that it was quite nice. For one of my stranger ideas, this is high praise from him.

The recipe may need a few tweaks as it was my first time making it, but I wanted to share it with you anyway to let you see what I did with the cherries from the garden that I posted a picture of on Facebook and Instagram.


  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tbsp milk
  • 100g of cherries, stones removed
  • 3 sprigs of basil


  1. Preheat the oven to 180º fan and grease and line your tin. We used a loaf tin, but you could also use a round or square one.
  2. Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and mix together until fully combined.
  3. Mix the stoned cherries with a tbsp of flour and add them to the mixture.
  4. Cut the basil into the bowl using scissors and mix until everything is combined.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the cake is springy to the touch or a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Wait for it to cool before removing it from the tin and slicing it.

If you do try this flavour combination, please do let me know how it works out as I am interested to see if others enjoyed it too. I am sure I will be back with another unusual flavour combinations sometime in the near future!


Spiced Brownies

We love cooking with chocolate. Every time I make a batch of brownies, I wonder why I don’t make them more often. Then after eating quarter of the batch in less than 30 minutes I remember why I don’t! I have no self control when it comes to baked goods containing chocolate.

Before I had to remove Atticus to supervise handwashing!

It seems I have also passed this on to Atticus as I had to snatch the bowl from him after he had licked it clean after making them and practically frog march him to the sink to wash his hands and face. I did not want any of the mixture on my walls or furnishings!

These brownies were a really tasty experiment and are my latest creation with the rosemary from the garden. We paired the rosemary with olive oil and some ground coriander to balance the flavours. The olive oil makes me think they are healthier than they really are and alleviates some of the guilt that I can assure you came about after eating as many as I did! I also did a spin class the following morning to balance the binge! Using olive oil in this recipe also means that if you use dairy free chocolate these brownies would be dairy free.

They sort of reminded me of the spiced chocolate Christmas cake (hence the name) I made last year, but without the fruit and the rum. I was in two minds whether I should post this now or wait until nearer Christmas. Then I decided that I would make them anytime so why not?! They are definitely on my list to make again before the winter. I must add I cut them into 12 large brownies. You could easily cut them smaller, but I am always worried I will eat loads more without noticing if they are small whereas at least I realise what I am doing when I eat more than one of these!


  • 80ml olive oil (we used extra virgin)
  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 3 sprigs of washed and dried fresh rosemary (You should have around 3tbsp of rosemary once it is off the stalks)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c and grease and line a brownie tin.
  2. Melt the chocolate and the oil in a glass in a double boiler (on the stove in a heat proof bowl over a pan with a small amount simmering of water in it which doesn’t touch the bowl). and put to one side to cool.
  3. Put the sugar and the rosemary (not the stalks) into a food processor and blitz until the rosemary is smaller and distributed throughout the sugar. (You can do this step in advance to allow the rosemary flavour to infuse more).
  4. Whisk the egg and rosemary infused sugar with an electric hand whisk until thick and creamy. Think about a bubbly milkshake and then you will have the right consistency. It will end up double the size.
  5. Gently fold in the cooled melted chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.
  6. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and ground coriander and fold again. You will probably need to hold the sieve above the bowl rather than resting it on it as the whisked eggs will have increased in size and you don’t want the sieve touching them.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips and fold.
  8. Pour the mixture into the brownie tin and spread out. Level it with a spatula and cook for 25 minutes. If the brownie is still wobbly in the centre, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin before removing them and slicing.